A ceremony at Pinckney High School Wednesday honored one of the school’s seniors as a finalist for a national award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame and U.S. Army.

Only 25 student athletes from across the country were chosen this year as finalists to receive the Award for Excellence. Pinckney high’s senior class president and varsity volleyball player Hannah Kerns was one of those individuals. The Award for Excellence focuses on great athletic achievement, academic excellence, and community engagement. Award finalists will attend an event for the Hall of Fame’s Enshrinement Week in August in Canton, Ohio where the winner will be announced.

The 17-year-old received a plaque acknowledging her finalist status from former NFL wide receiver James Lofton, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003. Lofton says Hannah’s application stood out to him because of her many years of community service and involvement in several projects which he noted make a huge impact. Lofton says the award means a lot to him because he is a parent and also the child of parents who were in the military.

Lieutenant Colonel Chuck Cogger was the aenior Army tepresentative presenting the plaque to Hannah. Cogger says it’s truly an honor to recognize her, as the values between the military and Hall of Fame are very similar, and that is the type of people they look for.

Hannah says when she received the call informing her that she was a finalist in February, she was “super excited” and couldn’t believe it. Hannah was nominated by the school’s athletic director and her volleyball coach, Susan Bostian. Bostian describes Hannah as a leader with good character who is constantly working to improve.

Hannah says she is grateful for her coaches, her family, friends, and the school. At the ceremony, she also recognized her teacher and mentor Sharyl Meyer, who she says she looks up to and loves. Meyer describes Hannah as an enthusiastic and kind person who is always willing to go the extra mile.

Hannah’s mom, Kristine Kerns, feels the award speaks volumes of her daughter and the many community members who play a role ensuring student success. April Woods, who is serving her first year as Pinckney High School’s principal, says the award acknowledges all of the great things the school has to offer and its successes. Woods, expressing her pride, says “We have great citizens here and we’re preparing them to be that way.” Woods says Hannah is a great student, Pirate Nation leader, and helpful in promoting school spirit.

Hannah's achievements include a 3.98 GPA, a member of the school's volleyball team for four years, a team captain, KLA scholar athlete, and a two-time offensive player of the year. (DK)